How to Rebuild Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

If you have low self-esteem, harness the power of your thoughts and beliefs to change how you feel about yourself. Start with these steps.

Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job and your health. But you can boost your self-esteem by taking cues from types of mental health counselling.

Consider these steps, based on cognitive behavioural therapy.

  1. Identify troubling conditions or situations

Think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:

  • A business presentation
  • A crisis at work or home
  • A challenge with a spouse, loved one, co-worker or other close contacts
  • A change in life circumstances, such as a job loss or a child leaving home

2. Become aware of thoughts and beliefs

Once you’ve identified troubling conditions or situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them. This includes your self-talk – what you tell yourself – and your interpretation of what the situation means. Your thoughts and beliefs might be positive, negative or neutral. They might be rational, based on reason or facts, or irrational, based on false ideas.

3. Start a Thought Diary

Another way to stop negative thoughts in their tracks is to keep a thought diary. We can use this tool to identify our negative thinking styles and gain a better understanding of how our thoughts can cause our emotional reactions.

4. Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking

Self-talk is your inner voice – and the hard part about self-talk is that it always feels true, even when it’s biased or incorrect. If you’re experiencing negative thoughts, chances are your self-talk is stuck on a downward slope.

If you wake up feeling worthless, stop and re-examine the question: What is my worth and who values it? Look to friends and family, teammates and teachers, as examples of people who value you and your contributions.

5. Adjust your thoughts and beliefs

Replacing our old irrational thoughts and beliefs can be done because the brain is malleable or changeable. Neuroscientists refer to this as the brain’s “plasticity,” The big question is how do we change our old irrational thoughts and beliefs?  Is there a right way and a wrong way to do this?


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